Everybody knows that the mixing of personal and corporate email correspondence is wrong, but continue to do that.
This advice is as ancient as the Internet - keep your private and professional virtual lives apart. However, not everyone wants to follow it, maybe because of negligence and ignorance. And they may regret.
It is enough to recall a recent scandal with Hillary Clinton, a Republican presidential nominee, and her personal email server, which she used for official correspondence. More by token, she is a civil servant who made such an unforgettable mistake; not to mention ordinary users whose awareness and alertness falls asleep as soon as a computer turns on.
It happens too often to be an unwitting mistake. Russian officials also use their personal email addresses at work. Statistics showed that 70% of email addresses that were used by Russian officials on the state procurement website were located in domains belonging Mail.ru and Yandex. Another approximately 2% of officials preferred Gmail or Microsoft. There you have it.
Of course, you can use your corporate email for personal correspondence, but only if you are ready for the fact that your boss may watch every word you have typed, or simply just take away the hard drive from your office computer for further study. Are you saying that your boss is not entitled to it? Partly, you're right, but only partly.
Everybody has a right to privacy, confidentiality of correspondence and negotiations. But how does this law work? There is no consensus on this issue.
On the one hand there is an employee who vigorously defends the right for inviolable life and privacy of correspondence.
On the other - an employer, who need to have means to control labor process, and prevent leakage of corporate information, trade secrets and other sensitive data. The law protects an employer as well as an employee.
If your employer intends to monitor emails or the history of internet use, you should be informed about that. This could be done in your employment contract or employee handbook, or some other kind of workplace email policy.
The policy should:
Even if an employer is not going to keep track of all your emails, your personal correspondence will remain in corporate hands. Once in a while all the email messages sent through the corporate email server are backed up and archived. Maybe you will not work in this company in the future, but all the data that you have sent by email will remain.
Using of personal email at work also has a large negative impact. Consider a situation that your company has an incident with leakage of important information and trade secrets. In this case, all employees will be checked, especially those who use office computers for personal affairs. Guess who will get in a special list for checking?
Despite the large number of arguments against it, a significant number of people continue to blend a cocktail with personal and corporate emails.
In 2011, Mimecast, an international company (UK), which manages cloud solutions for email, conducted a study on email security and found that 79% of people used their personal email accounts for work. And this index is growing every year. The respondents justified themselves by saying that they needed to transfer files which were larger than they could afford via corporate email.
It turns out that the majority of users begin to turn to third-party services to do their job well. But even with the best intentions, you should still be careful in the use of unauthorized email services at work.
It's better to talk to your chief and explain that you need better tools to handle work tasks. It's not scary, you can do it! Do not be afraid to ask for help on important issues rather than trying to solve them by yourself.
There are also times when an employee does not have access to corporate email. In this case, you should agree with your chief about data that can be sent via personal email account to avoid further potential problems relating to breach of confidentiality. If the task is completed and corporate emails in your personal email are no longer needed, it is better to delete it.
It's enough to draw an analogy between paper and digital documents. Some of them may lie quietly on your desktop, and some must be kept under lock and key. Don't let the differences between these types of information confuse you, because the responsibility in both cases is comparable.
Every sphere of our lives rotates in the huge flow of information. So please just be careful and vigilant, and you do not have to meet face to face with these unpleasant situations at work. Just do your personal correspondence via personal email, and corporate correspondence via corporate email. Start to do that right now.
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